The 2018 election year is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ever. A Muslim woman and a Muslim man are both in place to win significant offices, and more Black women than ever are running for political office. In Georgia, Stacey Abrams could be become the state’s first Black governor as well as its first female governor. She has been endorsed by a number of heavyweights, including former President Barack Obama, former VP Joe Biden and Senators Cory Booker (New Jersey) and Kamala Harris (California). In Florida, Andrew Gillum, a Black mayor in the state, surprised a lot of people and won the Democratic primary for governor, a move that immediately drew a racist comment from his Republican opponent for the office who said a vote for Gillum would “monkey up” the election. The third possibility is Ben Jealous who is running for governor of Maryland. “Black voters, and particularly Black women, are the bedrock of the Democratic Party, and it’s incredibly important that our candidates and policies reflect that in 2018,” Gillum spokesman Geoff Burgan told CNN. “But it’s also critically important for us to recognize that issues of economic fairness, race and gender all align under the progressive umbrella — and those policies are winning at the ballot box.” Jealous and Abrams have sent similar messages, helping to establish themselves as part of a new class of progressive leaders, along with U.S. House candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Rashida Tlaib in Michigan, who in winning defied a lingering conventional wisdom that said their politics could not attract – or by its nature excluded – racially diverse voters and candidates. “What we know is that being anti-Trump but yet moderate on critical issues like health care, immigration, minimum wage and criminal justice reform is not a winning combination for Democrats,” said Quentin James, executive director of the Collective PAC, which is dedicated to electing progressive African-American candidates, praising the three nominees as bold progressives. “We may sound like a broken record,” James said, “but that is the winning formula for us in November.”